Amy Dean and her husband
Amy Dean and her husband Bernie Davitto.

Posted April 3, 2013

Amy Dean’s energetic leadership threaded through her life, from her many volunteer pursuits to her career as a social worker, educator and advocate for education reform.

She threw herself into helping her community despite health ailments that might have stopped a less-committed leader.

“She was the bravest person I ever met,” remembers her husband, Bernie Davitto. “She had physical challenges all her life, but she never allowed them to get in the way of her accomplishments.”

When Dean passed away in 2011, Davitto wanted to memorialize his late wife’s bravery and leadership.

“I felt that she needed to be recognized for her courage and for what she did for her community.”

Dean was chair of UC Davis Health System’s Leadership Council, a group of health system supporters that she and Davitto joined in 2005. A social worker by training, she taught at New Mexico State University and California State University, Chico, before working in Sacramento for several legislators. Dean, Davitto and their close friend Charles Carter later co-founded Alliance for Education Solutions, a nonprofit organization focused on education reform.

When friends proposed creating a scholarship in Dean’s name, Davitto realized the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, with its vision to transform health care through nursing education, research and leadership, would be the appropriate beneficiary.

Davitto established the Amy T. Dean Courage Award, which supports students committed to research or clinical practice regarding end-of-life issues, and who have overcome significant obstacles.

“If the scholarship can help a few students become the kind of nurses and nurse leaders that I witnessed [at UC Davis Health System], it will be a pleasure to have Amy’s name associated with them,” Davitto says. “Amy deserves to be remembered well into the future.”